We are doing a 2 week trip to Ireland. The first week is with family and locked and loaded and ends in Cobh. The second week for 7 nights we plan to explore Northern Ireland May 19th - May 26th. We we leave first thing Friday, May 19th from Cobh and drive 4 hours north. I was thinking of doing 2 nights in Clifden, 2 nights in Derry (visit Downpatrick Head on way to Derry), maybe 1 night in Portrush and last 2 nights in Belfast. Suggestions for Northern Ireland are greatly appreciated.
One of my favorite hotels is the Bayview Hotel in Port Ballintrae. I would stay there instead of Port Rush.
When we visited NI we spent the first night at the Old Inn in Crawfordsburn. After it we drove the Antrim Coast stopping at Carrick a Rede bridge, the Giant’s Causway, driving past Dunluce Castle, then taking a Bushmills distillery tour. We spent the night in Portrush. We opted to skip Derry as there had been a recent bombing and we didn’t want to take any chances.
I'm not sure if you're interested in stately homes, but Mount Stewart is a National Trust property, former estate of the Marquess of Londonderry. It's located about 10 miles from Bangor, along the lough between Newtonards and Greyabbey. It could be an enjoyable day out from Belfast.
Don't underestimate driving times in Ireland . Distances may not look that far on a map but will take a lot longer to cover than you might expect. Cobh to Clifden is going to be about 5 hours drive PLUS any stops.
Clifden to Derry via Downpatrick head is more like 7 hours plus stops.
With two nights in each place, this is only effectively giving you a full day there.
Are you really committed to visiting Northern Ireland as it does seem a LONG way to drive from Cobh. Would it be more time effective to spend the second week seeing more of the southern part of Ireland? There is so much to see - chose between Beara Peninsula, Killarney National Park, Ring of Kerry, Dingle, Burren, Galway and Connemara...
Be sure to cross over to County Donegal while you are in the North. Gorgeous wild outdoors and rugged coast. Glenveagh National Park was beautiful. Bloody Foreland granite cliffs had solitude and dramatic views. Our Northern Ireland trip was focused on Belfast, Derry, and Donegal.
Remember to check if your insurance is valid for the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland) also be aware that the UK drives in miles per hour not kilometres as Ireland does